Guide: Things to Do in Copenhagen The City’s Best Museums and Tourist Attractions

Sponsored by Visit Denmark

Sponsored by Visit Denmark

Are you planning a trip to Copenhagen? The capital of Denmark has recently become one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations – and with good reason. This charming Danish city is famous for its historic castles, breathtaking architecture, and the colorful houses along the water in Nyhavn. Copenhagen is one of the happiest places in the world – and not just because it’s home to Tivoli (the amusement park that inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland). No trip to Copenhagen is complete without riding a bike around the city, cruising the canals on a boat tour, taking a picture with the Little Mermaid statue, and visiting some of the world-class museums. Keep reading to see our full guide to the best museums, tourist attractions, and things to do in Copenhagen.

And if you’re looking for food and drinks while you’re in town, we’ve got you covered! Check out our city map of Copenhagen!

Copenhagen’s Best Museums

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Located just a 40-minute train ride outside of central Copenhagen in Humlebæk is the spectacular Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The museum houses a permanent collection of contemporary art (including an infinity room from Yayoi Kusama), as well as rotating special exhibits. An exhibition we particularly loved recently was “Fantastic Women,” which featured female surrealist artists. Wander the galleries, walk around the sculpture garden, and take in the sweeping panoramic view at the museum’s stunning waterfront setting.

The Louisiana Museum has a breathtaking waterfront location in Humlebæk.
The Louisiana Museum has a breathtaking waterfront location in Humlebæk.

Cisternerne

For an art experience like no other, head underground into Cisternerne, the water cisterns beneath Frederiksberg Have. This old water reservoir has been transformed into an art space, currently showcasing the work of Tomás Saraceno. Visitors row their own boats around Saraceno’s universe, in almost complete darkness – until art installations appear through the gloom. Real spider webs hang between brick columns. Illuminated spheres are suspended from the ceiling like planets, their reflections bouncing off the water. Melodramatic, calming spa music hums in the background, and oars splash through the darkness.

Visitors row their own boats around Tomás Saraceno's exhibit at Cisternerne.
Visitors row their own boats around Tomás Saraceno’s exhibit at Cisternerne.
Tomás Saraceno's Event Horizon at Cisternerne.
Tomás Saraceno’s Event Horizon at Cisternerne.

Copenhagen Contemporary

Way out in Refshaleøen is Copenhagen Contemporary, a vibrant museum with frequently rotating exhibits. On exhibition on our latest visit was David Shrigley’s “Don’t Touch the Worms,” which featured pink striped worms that inflated and deflated in a bright, spacious room. Another exhibit consisted of bars of soap with the word “THREAT” imprinted on them – visitors were encouraged to take a bar of soap home with them and help wash away the threat.

The Copenhagen Contemporary museum in Refshaleøen.
The Copenhagen Contemporary museum in Refshaleøen.
“Don’t Touch the Worms” by David Shrigley.
“Don’t Touch the Worms” by David Shrigley.

Glyptoteket

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is a sculpture museum built around the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg brewery. A striking atrium greets you when you enter the building, filled with towering palm trees, plants, fountains, and marble sculptures. Along the side, a café serving Prolog Coffee overlooks the greenery. Of course there are many impressive sculptures to see in the museum, but the stunning greenhouse-like building with glass ceilings and lots of windows is worth a visit in itself.

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek sculpture museum.
The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek sculpture museum.

Other Must-Visit Tourist Attractions

Nyhavn

One of the most iconic sights in Copenhagen is Nyhavn (“new harbor”), with its charming colorful houses along the canal. This waterfront destination has lots of restaurants, bars, and shops, and there’s a dock where you can catch a boat tour around the canals.

Nyhavn is the most iconic tourist attraction in Copenhagen.
Nyhavn is the most iconic tourist attraction in Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid statue is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Copenhagen. This bronze sculpture depicts the famous character from Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, who sits atop a rock overlooking the harbor. Also worth a visit while in the area is the historic Kastellet – one of the best-preserved fortresses in Europe, which is mainly used as a public park today.

The Little Mermaid statue, based on Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale.
The Little Mermaid statue, based on Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale.
Take a walk around the historic Kastellet, one of Europe's most well-preserved fortresses.
Take a walk around the historic Kastellet, one of Europe’s most well-preserved fortresses.

What are your favorite things to do in Copenhagen? Let us know in a comment.

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Disclaimer

Some of these visits were sponsored by Visit Denmark (through free Copenhagen Cards). The sponsor had no influence on the content of this article. We received no monetary payment.

Kaitlin Orr

Kaitlin Orr and Anders Husa are food & travel bloggers and creative content creators. From their base in Copenhagen, they operate the largest and most influential restaurant-focused travel blog in Scandinavia.

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